Over the weekend, RGVFC got ahead early against Austin Bold FC in the capital city, but a red card and a star performance from Ismaila Jome helped the hosts score four unanswered goals in a resounding 4-1 win for Bold FC.
RGVFC Toros (0-5-2)
In a disappointing season so far, the Toros actually had a positive start on Saturday vs. Austin Bold FC. Carter Manley found Kembo Kibato in front of goal and the youngster tapped it past Diego Restrepo in the third minute. But, a moment before that goal would come back into play in a big way.
Left-back Robert Coronado picked up a yellow card in the second minute and then with the Toros up 1-0, he earned a second yellow for another reckless foul and was sent off. Minutes later, Ismaila Jome equalized and that was just the start of a long evening for the Toros.
Goals from Ates Diouf (assisted by Jome), another from Jome, and Billy Forbes late gave the hosts a 4-1 win over the 10-man side.
Down a man, the Toros only finished with 36% of possession and Austin tallied 19 shots. That put the pressure on the backline without Coronado and with only three players for a chunk of the action, as well as player/GK coach Ryan Coulter who started in goal. He made zero saves on the night and only maybe had a legitimate chance to save one or two of the goals at best.
Without much of the ball, attacking players need to take advantage of their limited chances and force their way into the action. Unfortunately, nobody in the trio of Garrett McLaughlin, Christian Lucatero, and Deshane Beckford had more than ten attempted passes and the three players combined for a total of ZERO shots.
Erik McCue seems set to join the club on loan from the Houston Dynamo, which is nice, but it’s outside of the backline where the Toros need help from the first team. Against OKC, we could see McCue and Robert Castellanos in central defense with Kyle Adams sliding out left to replace Coronado. Carter Manley has established himself as the best option on the right flank.
Robert Castellanos: With the defense under steady pressure, the captain made five clearances, three interceptions, and completed 41 passes. Without Caste, this one could’ve been much worse.
Kembo Kibato: In the early minutes of the match, Kibato was able to score his first professional goal and push the Toros ahead. Slice (we’re trying this nickname out) looks to be getting more confident and showing some promise during a difficult season.
Carter Manley: Another solid performance from Manley at right-back. He made four clearances on the backend and was very involved in the attack, which included five crosses and an assist on Kibato’s goal.
This Week’s Quote-A-Bull: Kembo Kibato
On scoring his first professional goal:
“I was just happy. I told a couple of the boys I would score a goal that day as well which made it extra special.”
On how motivated he is to help turn things around
“It’s unfortunate how the games are turning out. I feel like we are doing the right things but (are) struggling to get that luck and turn the game in our favour. I believe if we continue to do what we are doing, play together, and believe, we can slowly bring ourselves back.”
OKC Energy FC (1-3-2)
Energy FC resides one spot ahead of RGVFC on the Group D standings. They’ve struggled in back-to-back 3-0 losses. So far in their six matches, they have recorded zero clean sheets, despite holding an average of 58% possession. Playing in front of OKC mainstay Cody Laurendi in goal, CJ Cochran has already conceded 11 goals in six appearances, saving 18 of the 29 shots faced this season.
Former Toro star Charlie Ward has the second-most passes on the team, completing them at an 89% clip, and has started four matches. Rafael Garcia, who won multiple MLS Cups with LA Galaxy, has played a crucial role in the OKC midfield. He’s created a club-high ten chances. Up top, RGVFC will have to worry about Frank Lopez, who scored the equalizer in their match earlier this season, and Jaime Chavez, who is the only OKC player with more than one goal.
Surprisingly, OKC’s only win of the season has come in their only match away from home. They are winless in five matches at Taft Stadium.
Saturday, 7 PM CT, at Taft Stadium
RGVFC at OKC Energy FC